The involvement of three General rank officers in the Sukhna land scam was an “aberration,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony said here on Sunday.
“What happened in Sukhna and in some other cases are aberrations. The Army has already taken strong action. I do not want to say anything further. We cannot tolerate even a single instance of corruption,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
The Minister said the armed forces had a “much better” system of correcting things and punishing the guilty. “You should compare what is going on around. Compared to many other institutions, the armed forces and Army are doing much better to take action and correct aberrations in the system.”
Four senior Army officers, including three of General rank, were indicted by the Chief of the Army’s Eastern Command for attempting a lease agreement with a private developer for 71 acres of land near the Sukhna military station in Darjeeling district of in West Bengal.
On Mr. Antony’s insistence, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor has decided to initiate court martial proceedings against a three-star officer.
The ex-Servicemen’s wing of the Congress defended Mr. Antony for asking the Army Chief to revise his move for disciplinary action against the three-star General. It, however, took umbrage at Twitter entries by Gul Panag, actor-daughter of a recently retired General, who was at odds with General Kapoor.
‘In bad taste’
In a statement, All-India Congress Committee Secretary Captain (retired) Praveen Davar backed Mr. Antony for “rightly” advising General Kapoor to order court martial proceedings against the three-star General. But he felt the statement against the Army Chief by Ms. Panag was in bad taste.
“It is for the Defence Ministry to assess or evaluate the calibre of a serving defence chief, not for somebody from the tinsel world to make such remarks. Ms. Panag should have refrained from making such comments especially in view of the fact that she is the daughter of a former Army Commander, who is still serving as a member of the Military Tribunal,” Captain Davar said.